Trail Conditions Report 6/20/2023

with 2 Comments

Dog at Photographer's Point


Ahoy again, trail folks!

Here in Sublette County, we have had a lot of rain. In Pinedale, we are sitting at about double the normal average rainfall – it is helping the snow melt, but not as fast as 80 degrees and sunny days would. We also had a small, short cold snap on June 16th and 17th, seeing fresh snow down to about 10,000 feet. There is a silver lining; I spoke to a hiker in the shop that hiked a muddy, wet Highline Trail. He gave us a progress report: Yes, some sections of the Highline are snow-free! But out of the whole 110-mile section of trail, about 5 miles are free of snow, so don’t get too excited. Not as much as we would like to see, but it’s progress. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Summer awaits.

As I plan my summer hiking plans, ice-off on most lakes above 10K feet should be coming soon. BUT, as I read the long-range forecasts for the area, we will still be below average on temperature and trending above average with rainfall. Bug season has still not kicked off quite yet, with temps hanging below average, but with all this water, I could see July being vicious. Be sure to pack that Deet and treat your gear with Permethrin!

Summer events here in town are kicking off this weekend with the Soundcheck Summer Music Series’ first concert of the season: Hillfolk Noir on June 24th at American Legion Park. These concerts are free and fun for the whole family. Music starts at 5 pm, and food vendors will be on site. Make sure you check these out!

All the trailheads on this side of the divide are open and waiting for hikers. I also learned that someone made it over Union Pass as well.


Here is what is going on with our local trailheads:

Big Sandy Trailhead (9,085′) – Snow Depth: 0′′
It’s open! The lodge is open for food and drinks.

Scab Creek Trailhead (8,200′) – Snow Depth: 0′′
Scab Creek Trailhead is open. If you are willing to hike out of the trailhead, I bet you are making it to Divide Lake, but not much further. And getting there will take some effort.

Boulder Lake Trailhead (7,300′) – Snow Depth: 0′′
Boulder Lake Trailhead is open, and the trails are dry. Ethel Lake and Blueberry Lake are now fully accessible. Please watch out for high water in this area.

Elkhart Park Trailhead (9,350′) – Snow Depth: 0′′
Elkhart Park Trailhead is open. The road, parking lot, and campground are all dry. A couple of us were able to hike to Sacred Rim early last week on patchy, slushy snow. Most snow should be gone now, uncovering a wet but hikeable trail. Pole Creek Trail is still holding snow as you approach Photographer’s Point.

Spring Creek Trailhead (8,200′) – Snow Depth: 0′′
Spring Creek Trailhead is open, but getting there is another story. With lots of rain this month, the road will be pretty muddy, and 4WD will be a must.

New Fork Lakes Trailhead (7,900′) – Snow Depth: 0′′
New Fork Lakes Trailhead is open. If you are trying to hike the Double Top Trail, it will be snowy after about 6-ish miles. If you are trying for the Palmer Canyon area, you can make it a little bit further.

Green River Lakes Trailhead (8,040′) – Snow Depth: 0′′
Green River Lakes Trailhead is open. From hikers coming into the shop, it looks like you can get just to the natural bridge. If you are headed on the Highline, you can make it just past the base of Square Top Mountain. Any further is going to be filled with snow and mud.


Additional Resources:

GOTCo, Pinedale Area Hiking/Fishing Shuttles

Recreate Responsibly, Friends of the Bridger-Teton

Bear Wise Wyoming, WY Fish & Game

Wyoming Fishing Regulations, WY Fish & Game

2 Responses

  1. L
    | Reply

    Greetings from the North Cascades where the high elevation snow has already – and somewhat alarmingly – disappeared. Based on NRCS data, we thought snowmelt in the Winds was similarly rapid but your 6/20 conditions report indicate a lot of snow up there still. We’re planning to begin the Dixon High Route on July 28. Will that be too early for reasonable travel over the passes & high terrain? Given current conditions (and a crystal ball), when do you think the optimal time frame would be this year? We are an experienced group but do not wish for a technical trip. Thanks so much!

  2. Ethan
    | Reply

    Dalan – I’ve been searching for something like this site for awhile now, so glad I found it. I have a trip to the Cook Lakes planned for July 12-15 with a group of about 13 and am getting worried it will just be a muddy/snowy mess of a hike. Any thoughts on how bad the trail will be?

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